Maintaining a Peaceful Atmosphere for the 2017 Regional Election in West Papua

The 2017 regional election that will be simultaneously conducted is already near. In less than a month, the regional election in various parts of Indonesia will be held again. Like in any country during this democratic celebration, peace keeping and safe guarding for areas that are prone to conflict would be the priority for the Police and National Armed Forces, including West Papua.

Various peace keeping measures are being continuously carried out by the Police, considering West Papua has several areas that are prone to conflict. The Head Division of Regional Police, Kombes Patridge Renwarin said that West Papua has three conflict-prone areas for the 2017 Regional Election.

The first zone are areas that are potential for conventional conflicts such as demonstration, anarchy, and vandalism. While the second zone is for areas that have higher tension than the first zone. Kombes Patridge said that Nduga and Dogiyai Regencies are the two most conflict-prone areas for the upcoming 2017 regional election in West Papua. The atmosphere in Dogiyai regency it self is already heating up due to the elimination of one of the incumbent by Dogiyai General Elections Commission (KPU).

“One incumbent was being eliminated by the KPU due to ineligibility regarding candidacy requirements and the distribution of support to two candidates, which occurred as a result of organizational management dualism in PKPI party,” Kombes Patridge explained as cited from Detik.

The situation is worsened by the rumors of threats by a Dogiyai incumbent, Herman Auwe, to the Head of Dogiyai Regional KPU, Mathias Butu. The threat, explained Mathis, is the prohibition to cash-in the remaining funds of Regional Election in West Papua, along with the security funds and the Election Supervising Agency funds, which is in the amount of billions of rupiah.

“The person involved called me and threatened to not cash in the remaining Regional Election funds, while the remaining funds is very big, 28 billion IDR is supposedly allocated for KPU, from the total of 56 billion IDR being proposed to the local government,” he explained in the Papua province KPU office, Thursday (6/10/2016) as cited from Okezone.

The already heated atmosphere of Dogiyai is not the only problem. According to Kombes Patridge, there are still other areas that are included in special conflict-prone zone. This zone includes areas that often have armed conflicts, such as in Lanny Jaya regency, Puncak Jaya regency, Tolikara regency, dan Yapen regency.

Patridge explains that there are indeed potentials of SARA (ethnicity, tradition, race, religion) discrimination which is a very sensitive matter. “SARA discrimination does exist, but mostly due to social gap. Religious issues in the other hand does not exist. However, tribal conflicts often occur in Jayapura and Timika. Other than that there are no other pressing issues. Those are based on our data,” as cited from Detik.

The Head of Regional Police, Paulus Waterpuw explained that Tolikara is being given special attention. This is due to prevent the civil unrest and conflicts among people occurred that had five years ago.

“Tolikara ranks first among other regencies that hold the regional election in West Papua. We want to prevent the cycle of the event from five years ago from reoccurring again. Therefore, we continuously maintain good communication to avoid the conflict to affect the community,” said the Head of Regional Police, Paulus Waterpuw, as cited from CNN.

regional election in west papua
The 2015 Regional Election in Keerom, Papua via


Safe Guarding Measures

In order to prevent the conflict that can inflict danger to the community and all of the parties involved in the implementation of Simultaneous Regional Election in West Papua, held in 10 Regencies and 1 Municipality, the Regional Police of Papua and the National Armed Forces are continuously taking peace keeping and safe guarding measures to ensure the Simultaneous Regional Election in West Papua goes peacefully and successfully.

The safe guarding measures by the related instances, according to monitoring has been implemented accordingly. The Regional Police of Papua has conducted a Regional Election safe guarding simulation on October 2016. The simulation was held in SPN Jayapura football field, involving 300 personel from the Police and Regional Police Motor Vehicle Brigade (Brimob), along with armored vehicles and police dogs.

Furthermore, as much as five thousand police officers are also prepared to safe guard the Regional Election in West Papua. According to the Head of Regional Police of West Papua, Royke Lumowa, his department along with thousands of other personnel will help to maintain peace during the upcoming Regional Election in West Papua. The preparation has been prepared in various levels, which are the Resort Police, Sector Police, and Police post that are ready to take action when needed, as cited from Liputan6

“Several personnel have been deployed to safeguard the office of KPU and Election Supervising Agency (Bawaslu),” said Royke in Manokwari. He mentioned that the Regional Police is well prepared because of the help from the National Armed Forces, whether from the Military District Command, Military Resort Command, or Military Zone Command of XVII Cendrawasih. In order to strengthen the security, the Regional Police has also asked for additional support from the Operational Control (BKO) forces of the National Police of the Republic of Indonesia.

The joint forces from various instances in the above is a form of distribution system that is being implemented by the Police, as conveyed by Head of the National Police, Tito Karnavian.

“When an area is lacking of personnel, the police will ask for backup from other areas or from the level above it. When the distribution system is insufficient, the Regional Police will give backup, and when it’s still inadequate, the neighboring Regional Police would also provide backup. If these measures are still insufficient, the Headquarter of the National Police would provide backup and can even ask for additional help from BKO of the National Armed Forces,” said Tito.

Strengthening the security is not the only measure taken to safeguard the Regional Election in West Papua. Approaches to influential figures and religious leaders in West Papua as well as the candidates of Regional Election in West Papua is also carried out to ensure the safe and peaceful process of Regional Election in West Papua.


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